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1 Destro  Thu, Oct 18, 2012 6:17:15am

Which Dictator Killed the Most People? That's easy. The Abrahamic god.

2 ckkatz  Thu, Oct 18, 2012 7:40:05am

The article makes some good points regarding the huge number of deaths caused by dictators and their regimes. However, I am not convinced about the article's methodology. Genghis and Kublai Khan are not mentioned. Additionally, I believe that the article understates by half the number of deaths, mostly civilian, caused by Adolf Hitler and his regime. Plus, how does one count the huge number of native american deaths in Western Hemisphere during the conquest by Spain? But yes, Mao, as far as anyone can tell, leads the pack.

3 Gus  Thu, Oct 18, 2012 7:41:38am

Killing native people or engaging in democide doesn't count right?

4 ckkatz  Thu, Oct 18, 2012 7:56:03am

The article indeed did seem to miss a lot.

I would have thought that slow collapse of the Quing Dynasty in China would merited mention. It suffered the Taiping Rebellion of 1850-1865 with as many as 20 million deaths; Multiple ethnic and religious-based uprisings, including the Dungan Revolt (1862-1875) with it's 10-15 million deaths; The Boxer rebellion, etc. Granted that this occurred over several consecutive rulers. Still...

5 Destro  Thu, Oct 18, 2012 8:23:09am

re: #2 ckkatz

The article makes some good points regarding the huge number of deaths caused by dictators and their regimes. However, I am not convinced about the article's methodology. Genghis and Kublai Khan are not mentioned. Additionally, I believe that the article understates by half the number of deaths, mostly civilian, caused by Adolf Hitler and his regime. Plus, how does one count the huge number of native american deaths in Western Hemisphere during the conquest by Spain? But yes, Mao, as far as anyone can tell, leads the pack.

Also, the numbers are controversial because they count deaths from non violent means like starvation due to war and to bad management and poor planning and deaths from natural causes due to increase in sicknesses and weakness from hunger.

Most of the death toll attributed to Mao has to do with a famine after his regime came to power and implemented communist programs which failed utterly rather than from direct violence like mass shootings and the like.

If you want to ascribe deaths from illness and weakness due to less calorie intake or death from migration out of the dust bowl during the Great Depression or deaths from increased suicides and violent crime we get a huge death toll:

[Link: www.newsrake.org...]

Russian historian Boris Borisov asks what became of over seven million American citizens who disappeared from US population records in the 1930s.

Seven and a half million people does not mean the number of particular victims of the famine, but a general demographic loss, or the difference between the supposed population on the date of the census that was due to be held in 1940 and the factual number of people. In reality, the total demographic loss is bigger. The fact is not contested by anyone. The figure is more than ten million people."

In the book, "The Grapes of Wrath", Grampa Joad dies from the journey when they leave the homestead. Now he was old anyway and who is to say he would not have died at home at the same time but clearly the exodus added stress on to an old person's constitution and thus can be said contributed to his death. So you would need to count as mass death toll victims all the real life Grampa Joad's during the Great Depression.

6 lostlakehiker  Thu, Oct 18, 2012 11:16:44am

re: #5 Destro

Also, the numbers are controversial because they count deaths from non violent means like starvation due to war and to bad management and poor planning and deaths from natural causes due to increase in sicknesses and weakness from hunger.

Most of the death toll attributed to Mao has to do with a famine after his regime came to power and implemented communist programs which failed utterly rather than from direct violence like mass shootings and the like.

If you want to ascribe deaths from illness and weakness due to less calorie intake or death from migration out of the dust bowl during the Great Depression or deaths from increased suicides and violent crime we get a huge death toll:

[Link: www.newsrake.org...]

Russian historian Boris Borisov asks what became of over seven million American citizens who disappeared from US population records in the 1930s.

Seven and a half million people does not mean the number of particular victims of the famine, but a general demographic loss, or the difference between the supposed population on the date of the census that was due to be held in 1940 and the factual number of people. In reality, the total demographic loss is bigger. The fact is not contested by anyone. The figure is more than ten million people."

In the book, "The Grapes of Wrath", Grampa Joad dies from the journey when they leave the homestead. Now he was old anyway and who is to say he would not have died at home at the same time but clearly the exodus added stress on to an old person's constitution and thus can be said contributed to his death. So you would need to count as mass death toll victims all the real life Grampa Joad's during the Great Depression.

Stalin's Ukraine famine was, in the very most generous interpretation, the result of a decision to confiscate food and export it for cash, knowing full well that those whose food had been confiscated would starve.

Though the account is embedded in a work of fiction, it's explained rather well in Vassily Grossman's novel "Everything Flows". Solzhenitsyn also speaks on the matter, and of course for technical details and so forth you can go to The Black Book of Communism.

For lies and excuses, go to the Pulitzer Prize winning series that appeared in the New York Times, by Soviet apologist Walter Duranty.

7 War On Music  Thu, Oct 18, 2012 11:34:23am

Apparently there was no dictators before the 1860s.

I wonder why the British monarchy isn't on this list. From the ethnic cleansing of first nations people to colonization, the dictatorship of the house of Winsor is responsible for more then it's share of death throughout history.

8 EiMitch  Thu, Oct 18, 2012 12:00:34pm

As highlighted in the comments here and at the link, its fair to say that this list has a very biased selection of villains, regardless of your method of counting the dead. Not that the ones who made it on this list don't deserve the dubious honor, they most certainly do. But history has so many mass murdering "leaders" that no honest person can be satisfied with so few notorious names.

Oh well. Thats what you get for trying to simplify history.

9 ckkatz  Thu, Oct 18, 2012 2:07:27pm

Interesting points on the deaths caused by non-war calamities. I wonder what the number of excess deaths associated with the 2008 recession. Brings to mind the small pox epidemic during the American Revolution. And it is always an interesting question at what point one cuts off counting.

Regarding the Great Depression, not sure, though, that I would agree with an argument that FDR was a dictator. (Or Herbert Hoover, for that matter.)

10 CuriousLurker  Thu, Oct 18, 2012 2:08:07pm

The NY Times put out a somewhat more comprehensive list about a year ago that stretched back to 400 B.C.: Population Control, Marauder Style

In addition to list the number of millions killed, it also has a chart showing the top 10 rated by the percentage of the world population (of their respective times) that was killed, and the top 10 in terms of deaths (in millions) per year. I think it puts things in a little more perspective.

Interestingly, Genghis Khan lands in the top 3 on both lists.

Also interesting, is that the vast majority of the killing doesn't appear to be related to religion. That surprised me a bit.

Oddly, while the Crusades are listed I couldn't find anything related to the expansion of Islam, though there is a significant number related to the Mideast slave trade over the course of several centuries.

Unlike the Crusades, the slave trade wouldn't have been a religious thing—it was all about profit—but still...I find the omission of the Muslim/Arab conquest of most of the Mideast, N. Africa, and parts of Central Asia & Europe curious, not to mention the push into India, the Malay Archipelago, and even parts of Western China (though I believe the latter was accomplished through merchants & commerce than warfare).

11 jogiff  Thu, Oct 18, 2012 4:51:39pm

Tojo should have a lot more drops under his name. The Japanese invasion of China alone resulted in twenty million civilian casualties. I don't even know exactly what he did to the other nations the Japanese invaded and to his own people.

12 Destro  Thu, Oct 18, 2012 8:17:55pm

re: #6 lostlakehiker

Stalin's Ukraine famine was, in the very most generous interpretation, the result of a decision to confiscate food and export it for cash, knowing full well that those whose food had been confiscated would starve.

The best explanation I read (I don't totally discount that notion the Ukraine was starved to weaken Ukraine nationalism) about the Ukraine famine was that communist policies failed to produce the quantities the quotas called for and commissars lied about what their collective farms were producing so they would not get sent to Siberia or shot for failure.

The central planning committees would get reports that the Ukraine had surpluses and sent to get the quota plus the surplus (they thought they were leaving enough behind for at least livable rations).

That is pretty much exactly a repeat for the famine under Mao. So that makes the best sense for an explanation.


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